This week in Mountain Scene history

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1975 Local vets Alan Hunter and Brian Gartrell help Old English Sheepdog Sheba give birth to no less than 14 puppies – all but two survive. 

1985 Prominent Queenstown developer Jock Boyd announces he’ll develop the 26-lot Frankton Industrial Estate. 

1995 The Ministry of Education confesses to having a “contingency plan” to bus primary pupils to Cromwell if surges in local student rolls beat a new school due to open in 1997. The MoE’s been looking for land in Frankton for two years but hasn’t bought any. “It’s not a funding problem, it’s a bureaucratic process,” MoE Southland property manager Maurice Lock says. 

2001 Bruised from his bitter battle with outgoing mayor Warren Cooper over rural development, film star Sam Neill applauds fresh mayoral contender Clive Geddes. “While I’m not endorsing anybody yet, I’m of course delighted to see an alternative to the old Cooperite candidates in the race up ’til now,” Neill says. Those Cooperite candidates are deputy-mayor Simon Hayes and councillor Jerry Hohneck – both of whom are later trounced at the ballot box by Geddes, Commerce Queenstown’s executive director. 

2005 A Mountain Scene special investigation reveals local women’s lives are at risk because of a breast-screening failure in Queenstown. Fewer than half the women eligible have been tested, compared with 90 per cent in Southland. Queenstown GPs and women are angry at the lack of screening, which is contracted to Otago District Health Board. ODHB’s screening chief wasn’t aware of the lapse until alerted by Mountain Scene and can’t explain the low figures. Local MP David Parker is calling for a Ministry of Health enquiry.